Weekend trip to Vancouver, BC
October 7, 2016 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Planning a quick solo-getaway to Vancouver. What should I be sure not to miss?

I'd really appreciate any recommendations. It will be my first time there, and I have very simple wishes. It will be a stellar trip if I find a great book from an interesting book store and get a chance to do some reading at a cafe. I enjoy walking around; I could walk forever. If I really want to treat myself, I'd spend an afternoon at a spa with a steam room, or maybe take a yoga class. I like all types of museums, especially contemporary art. I'm vegetarian. Any type of live show would be worth considering at night. I do imagine this trip to be low-key, but at this point I'm going into it without knowing anything about the city at all, and your suggestion could be a real highlight in my year! So, please, advise away! The trip is for three nights later this month and I haven't booked a room yet. Was thinking hostel, but open to suggestions on that front, too. Thanks!!
posted by little_dog_laughing to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, WA (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Well if you're a walker, you'll certainly have to visit Stanley Park for a stroll along at least part of the seawall. The whole seawall path is 9 km; plus there are other trails through the park.

Part of the Vancouver public transit system is the Seabus - it crosses Burrard Inlet from Waterfront Station in Vancouver over to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. If you're going to be using public transit often enough in one of your days to make a Daypass worthwhile, try to find time to take a boat ride over and back (if you like boats, that is. I like boats.)

The Museum of Anthropology at UBC is absolutely worth a visit.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:18 PM on October 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Come visit my neighbourhood! There's Luckys, a great comic and book store, Carson books and records, the Regional assembly of text , and a bunch of great coffee shops to read your purchases in. There's also the Hillcrest centre, if you want to sit in a sauna and steam room for the princely sum of 6$, and a bunch of yoga places on the same road.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:48 PM on October 7, 2016

For me, one of the top features of Vancouver is the food; its possible to find very fine examples of just about any cuisine.

Vancouver, BC isn't much more ... je ne sais qua that you're looking for ... compared to Seattle.

Chinatown can be a very interesting walk, and only a block away from Stadium skytrain station; it verges with the Downtown Eastside but it`s actually rather safe despite the despair and desolation. If you wander somewhere you feel is sketchy, walk around the block back towards where you came from and you`ll be fine.

The entire area is rapidly becoming gentrified, so this might be the last time to experience. The Museum of Vancouver has a free augmented reality app Visible City that offers overlays of the heyday of neon-signed Vancouver (featuring Chinatown).

Downtown Chinatown has gotten more and more depressed over the last couple of decades, and gentrification is encroaching so there's a strange mix of the old dying, the old, and the new.

The Naam in Kitsilano is a The oldschool veg restaurant. There are many other very good vegetarian restaurants around town and nearby, but The Naam is an establishment.

'couver isn't actually super big on "the arts" but there's the Arts Club Theatre Company at Granville Island; I believe that Bard on the Beach is over. Granville Island can also be an interesting hour or two. If the weather is ok, the Aquabus (even if to take it around the circuit) is neat (and cheap).

Any more specifics of what you're looking for?
posted by porpoise at 11:37 PM on October 7, 2016

seconding Jon Mitchell's recommendation for the Main Street area. if you love walking, coffee shops, stationery/book/comic stores, and just a generally great vibe for hanging out, start at one end of Main and walk to the other end. plenty to do and see and so. many. good. coffee shops.
posted by gursky at 11:44 PM on October 7, 2016

sorry, I should be more clear about walking from one end to the other on Main Street (it's a pretty long street). I would start at Main and E. 30th or so and walk all the way up to the Main Street SkyTrain station. (I haven't lived in Vancouver for 4 years now so hoping someone will correct me if I'm wrong!)
posted by gursky at 11:49 PM on October 7, 2016

If you're on Main Street as per some above recommendations, definitely check out Pulp Fiction books on 8th avenue. It's such a wonderfully chill place with a great, curated selection of new and used. There are a number of lovely coffee shops in the area, like Kafka's, for you to sit and enjoy some new books also!

I would also highly, highly suggest taking a trip out to UBC to see the Museum of Anthropology. It's really something else.
posted by thebots at 12:37 AM on October 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I went to Vancouver alone on business and I took a hop-on hop-off tour bus that I picked up in Gastown. It was a good way to see a lot of the city I wouldn't have seen if I had to walk or find everything on my own. It stopped off at the library, which looked cool (I did get off at the stop, but to see something else) and it goes through Stanley Park, which is a definite stop.

B.C. Place is right downtown and walkable too, if you have any interest in maybe seeing a soccer game. The Vancouver Whitecaps play there, although the season ends in a few weeks. Other sports or events could be at B.C. Place though.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:44 AM on October 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Paperhound is a great bookstore. Finch's is a lovely cafe nearby.
Gastown is great to wander, many good restaurants and boutiques. Also recommending: Main St, Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside, the latter if you want to see one of worst drug ravaged neighbourhoods in the world.
Might be worth a trip to the VAG depending on what the current exhibit is.
The Flick at the Arts Club Theatre Granville Island is supposed to be very good. The Granville Island area can be a nice wander too.
If the weather is ok, anything by the ocean can be beautiful.
posted by miles1972 at 12:53 AM on October 8, 2016

I did not have luck finding contemporary art in Vancouver, but Commercial Drive is another walkable stretch, best experienced in the evening or late morning. Tons of cafes and shops.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:01 AM on October 8, 2016

Dropped in to second the Museum of Anthropology. Even if you hate museums. It's gorgeous and fascinating.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:44 AM on October 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

nthing the Museum of Anthropology and Pulp Fiction Books (and if you want an nice walk, go through Pacific Spirit park between the two. The Nitobe Memorial garden at UBC is also really nice.
posted by motdiem2 at 6:23 AM on October 10, 2016

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